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Prison time for 3 mail & ID thieves
Mail Theft
Save Mart clerk Brianna Johnson and her manager Fernando Andrade recall a trio of late night customers in their Ripon store who attempted to pass a stolen check for $200 in groceries. Finding it to be have been stolen, they called the Ripon police who stopped the U-Haul truck they were driving at Love’s Truck Stop and discovered stolen mail and stolen ID cards. - photo by GLENN KAHL/ The Bulletin

Three major mail and identity theft felons that victimized more than 400 people including a large number of Manteca residents are in state prison today thanks to a quick-thinking clerk at the Ripon Save Mart grocery store 

How critical citizens are to fighting crime was underscored at a press conference on Friday.

What the clerk did on Oct. 25 set in motion investigations and successful prosecutions that sent all three to state prison for terms of five and seven years and the third with 10 years and eight months. 

San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Chief Prosecutor Katherine Mahood said one of the three —Jeanne Mendoza, 43, — went into Save Mart with a forged check and a stolen driver’s license at closing time and presented it to the clerk who checked its validity. When it didn’t go through she alerted police.

Ripon Police Chief Ed Ormonde credited his investigators for their professional work and depth in handling the identity theft case. 

San Joaquin County District Attorney Tori Verber Salazar called the press conference in her Stockton office to announce the sentencing of Lom Nguyen, 41, Kimi Matsuno, 45, and Jeanne Macias Mendoza, 43.  While Matsuno and Mendoza received five and seven year sentences, Lom Nguyen demanded a jury trial and the outcome of that trial sent him to state prison for 10 years and eight months. All were from Stockton and possessed a counterfeit cluster mailbox key, its source unknown. 

The district attorney praised the Ripon Save Mart staff and particularly the clerk — Brianna Johnson — whose call to the Ripon Police Department brought a quick response with Officer Alex Contreras making a traffic stop of their rented U-Haul truck in the nearby Love’s Truck Stop.  Officer Jered Heuvel was the primary Ripon officer in the investigation after finding stolen mail and identity theft documents in the U-Haul truck that was impounded at the Ripon Police Department. 

Salazar credited the Ripon Police Department with “outstanding police work” in discovering the 900 to 1,000 pieces of mail in the vehicle with most coming from Elk Grove and the remainder from the cluster mail boxes of neighborhoods in Manteca, east of Highway 99 and south of Louise Avenue.  None had been taken from Ripon neighborhoods. They were credited with other mail thefts from Sacramento to Los Angeles. 

She complemented the three agencies working together on the case from the Ripon Police Department to the U.S. Postal Service investigators and the District Attorney’s investigators to bring the case to a successful conclusion sending all three suspects to prison. 

“The crime was planned, disciplined and carried out,” Salazar said, “and so was the most successful prosecution.  We are going to be more aggressive to identity theft in the future and will approach the crime with a county-wide task force. We are going to come for you and we will be bringing in the feds.”

She asked the public to be vigilant and to take care not to provide identity items left in open sight in their vehicles for possible thefts. 

“That one call to police in Ripon protected some 400 people from identity theft,” the district attorney said.

 Postal Inspector Jeff Fitch, from the San Francisco office, said his investigators are working closely with the different police agencies in the region to quell the rash of mail theft. 

To contact Glenn Kahl, email